Thursday, June 11, 2009

June 11: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Baptists, Dancing, Jahova's Witnesses, Death, Vegetables

From: Jordan Argyle
Date: Thu, Jun 11, 2009 at 4:16 AM
Subject: June 11: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Baptists, Dancing, Jehovah's Witnesses, Vegetables

All: 105,792 steps = 82.51 KM. Not very much walking this week--a lot more sitting than I thought. But this was one of the most crazy, awesome weeks I have had yet, and here's why:

To start, I want to clarify that I'm not going vegetarian my whole life (
1 Timothy 4: 3), but we just wanted to try it for now. It'll be fun! It has been. Our meals were:
Mon 1st: Veggie Stir Fry
Tues 2nd: Curry Rice
Wed 3rd: Veggie Pizza
Thurs 4th: Leftover Curry Rice
Fri 5th: Marak Avacado im Batzal (Onion Avocado Soup) with Focaccia bread.
Sat 6th: Fries and a Veggie Burger at Hesburger.
Sun 7th: Mshat arnabeet (Cheesy fried Cauliflower (and we added broccoli to the mix))
Mon 8th: Ratatouille
Tues 9th: Grilled Cheese and Potatoes
Wed 10th:Veggie Pizza from Lulu's at zone conference

So far, it's been quite adventurous. I'll post each of our meals each week, and send a shot of the best one. When this month is over, we'll be having bacon-wrapped hamburgers and use fillets of chicken breast as the buns. Just kidding--but we will go back to meat.

Pictures+Q+A+The Norm
Top: Us dancing. This is one of the traditional Latvian dances we learned. More on that later.
Middle: Elder Udi (Юди) painting at the baptist church. I have a closer-up one of me, but you can't see where exactly we were painting, so I chose this full one of Udi to show it better.
Last: This was our Ratatouille. The cactus juice was on super sale, so we just had some fun. Looks great, vai nē?

My week was amazing! I'll get there later. Zone conference was also really good. Zone conferences are done by the leadership of the mission--President and Sister Dance with the assistants to the prez do all kinds of stuff, and then we split into zones (Latvian/Russian) and are trained by the zone leaders. We talked more on teaching skills this time, as well as ways to improve our thoughts so that they aren't barrier thoughts but success thoughts, and how that affects our work.
We have no elevator in our building, so we have to walk up all 5 floors. Whatever.
Church is held in a rented apartment that we've converted to a meeting house for now. It's not as permanent as we are in other cities, because we're way young here.
Our kitchen is normal--stove, fridge, sink. Just...a little soviet-style. We don't really use busses in Jelgava--it's not a very big place. We usually walk everywhere we need to go unless we're going to a place in the Jelgava Rajonā (region, I think). It's a requirement for every apartment to have a laundry machine, so we do that at home.

Now, for the excitement! So, here's our week. Not long after p-day we knocked into a lady (the first door to open), who said, "Hey! We're always waiting for you people. Come on in!" We, a little confused, came in. She then said, "Our preacher is just in the other room!" Oh. That usually means that somebody wants to bash scripture to try to prove somehow from one source of scripture that we are wrong. So, we wearily entered the room, and it turns out that the guy is an American baptist who is serving a mission here! He's been here for 12 years now. We joined them on their Bible study (from 1st Moses chapter 4 about Cain and Abel) and after, he told us that they're building a church out there is Ozolniekos. So, we offered to help. Thus, that Saturday, we all bussed out to Ozolnieki (a smaller city not far from Jelgava--I guess you can think of it as a Jelgava suburb) and we painted. My comp (Spears) and Farnsworth painted in one room, and Udi and I painted a section of the ceiling. It was really cool to talk to the preacher while we painted (he was working on lights a little farther over), and we even played foozball with him after. It was really cool!

But Saturday wasn't over yet! We didn't ever put a tie on that day. We went to Hesburger with the other elders, then showered at home, put our dancing clothes on, and went with two church members (Janaviča and Pravains), two investigators, and the Māsa Janaviča's kids (so we were 9 total) to an activity in Imanta. That asked about an hour and a little of travel, but the dance thing was way fun! There were two dances to songs from Hannah Montana, and other pop-style dance. A group of six showed us all the dances, and then we chose one of the three to learn. After 45 minutes, we showed the dances off. It was sooooo much fun, I can't even tell you. And after that, we learned three traditional Latvian dances (which are really, really easy--I'll show you all when I get home. They're fun for a little bit, but get boring after a minute or so). So, that picture is one of the Latvian dances, and the only one whose name I remember -- "Oira." That doesn't mean anything, by the way.

Sunday (I think) we knocked into some VERY active Jehovah's Witnesses. We talked for a bit. I'm very impressed by how well they know their Bibles. The only bummer is that they only rely on the Bible, and without revelation you get some very odd ideas. Like that Christ has already returned (right before WWI) and that the war in heaven described in Revelation took place last century, and because Satan lost and was cast down to earth, we've had so many wars. Some verses they use totally out of context--but they connect all that they use, and it's very logically sound. I have great respect for what they have done. Most especially that the majority of them actually live their religion, and know what they believe. Very few churches can claim that most of their members understand their doctrines and live after them. However, they, like all other churches, do not have apostolic authority from God to receive revelation for the world. Christ's church must have apostles and prophets (
Ephesians 2: 20, Ephesians 4: 11-13) "until we all come in the unity of the faith." We are not unified in the faith, nor are we "perfect men." After the apostles died, the authority was lost. That is why the restoration is so important. People changed doctrines and interpreted the scriptures differently after the church fell into apostacy. Teachings were added by man and called doctrine or changed (transubstantiation, baptism, the nature of the Godhead). But most are supported by the Bible. It all depends on how you read it. That's why another testament of Jesus Christ is so important--it helps us to understand.

A picture with one nail holding it can be turned all over, but still be nailed to the wall. But with two nails, it's not turning anywhere. The Book of Mormon is that second nail. It proves itself true. I invite you to read it and pray about it. And knowing that it is true, you can confidently believe that Jesus is the Christ (or add more confidence to that belief you already have), that God has called prophets in these days, and that God's kingdom is on the earth. To those of you who recite the Lord's Prayer, take a look at what you're praying for:
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. That kingdom is His church. It's here now. His will is made known through prophets, as it always has been (Luke 11: 49, Ephesians, 2: 20, Ephesians 3: 5, 1 Nephi 13: 39, D&C 98: 32, D&C 52: 9, 36). You could say your prayers have been answered. Now, all that is left is to learn of Him and learn His will, for "If any man will do his will he will know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether [we] speak for [ourselves]" (John 7: 17). That's how you test it. Try it. If it is good, then it is true. And that is real, tangible, testable (Alma 32: 28, 35).

To end, there's a really good talk given by Robert Millet. Give it a read. Or a listen.
What We Believe, by Robert Millet--Text. What We Believe, by Robert Millet--MP3. It's kinda long, so it may be best to take it with you when you work out or are traveling or something.

I love you all! You are in my prayers.
Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )

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